The Huskies will play Boston College at least twice this week as both teams are vying to move on to the next round of the Hockey East Tournament.
UConn (16-16-2) is coming into the tournament off a rough weekend, as well as being on a three-game losing streak. The Huskies are 1-4-0 all time against Boston College in the playoffs. These teams faced each other last year in the Tournament, with the Eagles advancing to the next round.
Boston College (16-14-3) is a team that no one should sleep on despite their record. The Eagles have two players, Kelly Browne and Hannah Bilka, who are in the top five for most points scored this season for Women’s Hockey East. Offense is not the area where the team struggles. Boston College has had its fair share of problems on defense this season. They had the fourth worst scoring defense in the conference.
The Huskies are in the perfect position to pull of the upset over Boston College, even if their record and recent performances would suggest otherwise. For starters, UConn has already proven that they can beat Boston College, as they won the series season this year, going 2-1 against them. The first matchup between the teams went to UConn, capturing a 5-2 victory. They also won the second matchup as well, though this one was much closer at 2-1.
Secondly, UConn has been more consistent in a key area recently, which was not the case when these squads met early in the season. That key area is power play opportunities. They have found much more success as of late when it comes to scoring on power plays. UConn has three in their last five games.
The Huskies are also the second-best team in the conference when it comes to penalty kills. They are 79 for 88 this year on penalty kills, meaning they come away with a penalty kill almost 90% of the time. Teams flat out could not find a way to score against UConn on power plays this season.
UConn’s spectacular defensive play on power plays should come as no surprise, as they have proven to be a very solid team regarding defense. They play hard every game on the defensive end which has helped the team come away with some close wins. For example, UConn showed they can hold the Eagles offense in check, as they did not allow them to score more than two goals in their matchups this season.
Boston College will need to shut down the Huskies on offense if they want to move on to the Semifinals. The Eagles offense will, third best in the conference, will have plenty of opportunities to score, can their defense hold up will be the biggest x-factor to watch in this matchup. If their defense does not hold up, its very likely that the matchups between these two teams will be high scoring.
Players to watch for UConn are Natalie Snodgrass, Briana Colangelo, and Catherine Crawley. Natalie has done it all for the Huskies this season. She leads the team goals scored, assists tallied, and points scored. Look for her to have a big weekend.
Catherine Crawley has had a phenomenal season as well. She is second on the team in goals scored, tied for second for assists tallied, and second in points scored. If opposing defenses focus too much on Snodgrass, Crawley will make them pay.
Rounding out the trio is Colangelo, who has been a very solid third option for the Huskies this season. She scored the third most goals for the team, is tied for second in assists, and she is third on the team in points scored.
This trio has proven to be a very successful and they have demonstrated they can come through when it matters most. Expect to see them at their very best for these games.
UConn takes on Boston College on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. All games will take place at the Conte Forum in Massachusetts.